What is Free Writing & How to Do It

Have you ever attempted to get into the journaling habit, without the use of a guided journal?

If so, you might have stumbled upon a method that, while seemingly simple, can sometimes prove to be a challenge.

This method is known as free writing.

But what exactly is free writing? And how can something that sounds so unrestricted and spontaneous be so difficult to do?


What is Free Writing?

Free writing (sometimes called free flow writing) is a technique that involves writing continuously for a set period of time without regard to spelling, grammar, or even the topic.

The idea is to write as quickly and freely as possible, allowing your thoughts to flow onto the page without self-editing or self-censorship.

It's a great way to bypass our inner critic and tap into spontaneous thoughts and feelings.

The method can be used in a variety of settings - such as to get over writers block, brainstorm ideas for a project, process complex emotions in a therapeutic context,  or simply as a daily ritual to achieve self-awareness.

The length of time used to free write is entirely up to you. Typically, it is recommended that 10 to 15 minutes is a good starting point - you can always write for longer, but the minimum timeframe is helpful to really push yourself to focus.


6 Tips for How to Start Free Writing

The main purpose of free flow writing is to write whatever comes to mind. But there are some tips that may help you get started:


Tip #1 - Set a Timer

Decide on a specific amount of time you'll write for. This could be anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes (or more!), depending on your preference.

Tip #2 - Pick a topic or prompt (or don't)

Sometimes having a topic to start your thoughts at can be helpful to begin the process - especially if it's your first time. As you get more into the practise and find it easier to focus on the moment, you may prefer to use no prompts.

If you'd like to try with prompts, we have lots of useful prompts for a variety of topics:

And, of course, our guided journals provide you with a relevant journal prompt everyday to aid reflection and self-awareness!

Tip #3 - Start Writing 

Begin writing anything that comes to mind. Don't worry about the topic, structure, or even coherence. The goal is not to produce a polished piece of writing but to simply let your thoughts flow.


Tip #4 - Avoid Editing

Do not stop to correct spelling, grammar, or punctuation. If you find yourself stuck or at a loss for what to write, simply write about the fact that you're stuck or repeat the same word or phrase until a new thought emerges.


Tip #5 - Keep Going

Write continuously until the timer goes off. Even if what you're writing seems nonsensical or unimportant, the key is to keep the pen (or keyboard) moving.

Tip #6 - Review 

Once you've finished, you can read over what you've written. Sometimes, insights or ideas emerge that you weren't consciously aware of. Other times, the act itself is simply a therapeutic release, and you may choose not to review your writing at all.


What are the Benefits of Free Writing?

Free writing has many benefits in addition to helping you partake in journalling.

This technique can be particularly useful if you're dealing with a difficult or touchy subject, as you allow your mind to truly wander throughout the whole thought, and get you nearer to the root trigger or issue at hand.

Allowing this free-reign is also helpful for bringing out creativity, and you're forcing yourself to brainstorm and come up with new ideas or reasons for your feelings and emotions.

For these reasons, free writing can be an extremely effective form of self-expression and help you process various emotions or events in fine detail. 


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